Imagine a right-wing movement so extreme, even those doughty old stalwarts at the John Birch Society came out against it. That’s the Constitutional Convention crusade in a nutshell.
If you’ve never heard of such a thing, join the club. But try to imagine: What if there was a way for the GOP and their corporate pay masters to do anything they want? Without getting cracked down on by those pesky judges and regulators from the U.S. federal government?
A Constitutional Convention could change all that. So far, we’ve only ever amended the U.S. Constitution through a two-thirds majority vote in both the U.S. House and Senate. Alas, it’s hard to find enough of these “career politicians” from either party to make the kind of drastic changes today’s nihilistic right-wingers crave.
But there’s another way. Thanks to Article V, gutting civil rights, the ACA, voting rights, public schools, labor laws, and more; selling our national parks to oil companies; and taking us back to the Jim Crow era is all within their grasp.
Article V allows two thirds of our state legislatures to call for a Constitutional Convention –“Con-Con” for short — where they can draft amendments. If a three-fourths of our states affirm the proposed amendments, they become part of our constitution.
This sounds crazy. But as the map below shows, 28 states have already called for a “Con-Con.” We need only 34 states in order for that to happen, and 38 eight states to ratify what they come up with. Meanwhile, 11 states are being heavily canvassed by folks from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC is a so-called non-profit funded by ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, Pfizer, State Farm, AT&T, UPS, and other pro-business interests.
— John Birch Society (@The_JBS) February 4, 2017
While ALEC mostly provides “model legislation” used by GOP lawmakers from the School Board level and up, the Constitutional Convention is their big push. With the large number of GOP-controlled and divided states, they want to strike while the iron’s hot. Anything to further their corporate paymasters’ agenda.
Thirty-eight states will elect a governor over the next 2 years. Find your state, get organized!! to remove GOP governors!! RT far and wide! pic.twitter.com/P0GkhKPBcJ
— ALT DOJ (@ALT_DOJ) February 14, 2017
Alternet cautions, “This is no fringe, unrealistic movement” and reminds us that “They came close to calling a convention in the 1980s.” And now, they’ve got the full force of ALEC behind them.
At ALEC’s 2016 annual meeting in July, the convention of states was made a top priority.
And here’s the scary thing: Even if you’re pro-“states rights,” that may not mean what you think it means.
But ALEC doesn’t just fight for states’ rights over the federal government. It fights for states’ rights over everything else.
Once again, the Constitutional Convention movement is so extreme, even many die-hard Republicans reject the notion.
Last week, alarmed lawmakers from Idaho — one a Republican and one a Democrat — came together to warn their neighbors about this impending crisis. Judy Boyle (R-District 9) and Ilana Rubel (D–District 18) wrote in The Idaho Statesman:
The two of us represent different political parties, but we both love our Constitution. We’re speaking out because it is under serious threat. Please pay attention — this issue keeps us up at night. The more you learn, the more you will share our fears.
In their open letter, they also warned:
Proponents of a Con-Con will tell you their objective is to pass a balanced budget amendment, term limits or another benign-sounding tweak. Make no mistake — there is no basis to believe that the agenda can be contained. These unelected delegates could gut free speech, the Second Amendment, or our system of checks and balances.
Alas, as the 2016 election shows, too many of us are not paying attention. And if you think the Con-Con delegates will take the good of our country and the will of our people into consideration, take a long, hard look at our Electoral College in 2016
The last time we had a Constitutional Convention, we had a civil war.
Feb 4,1861 Confederate constitutional convention meets for 1st time; Jefferson Davis elected President of Confederacy pic.twitter.com/LB8D5QmQLZ
— NC Division SCV (@NCDivisionSCV) February 4, 2017
But in 1787, our freedom-loving Founding Fathers forged the Three-Fifths Compromise to keep the slave owners from walking. That, along with the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College, handed rural voters from former slave states the unfair over-representation their descendants still enjoy today.
The Electoral College which DEVALUES MY VOTE in comparison to a rural voter, grew out of the 'Three Fifths Compromise' & is morally wrong! pic.twitter.com/3qeCLYKJSL
— Cornelia (@PaladinCornelia) November 13, 2016
Alas, that wasn’t enough to keep them happy. As the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t secede, try, try again.”